Covid-19 won’t stop play

Covid-19 won’t stop play

Like other athletes in Singapore, Netball Super League club Swifts Barracudas were relieved when the restrictions to stem the spread of Covid-19 were eased in June, allowing them to gather in groups of five to train.

However, safe distancing measures remain in play for almost all aspects of local sport, and with that, several sports teams are now racking up increased costs.

For the Barracudas, expenses have doubled as the club have to book an additional court for 20 players to train twice a week at the Kallang Netball Centre, said coach Geraldine Ng.

Only five players are allowed on one court at any one time. The team have had to halve training time to just one hour to accommodate more players for each two-hour booking.

The Barracudas use club funds contributed by members to cover costs, said Ng, 28, who has been coaching the team for three years.

When asked how they have adapted their training to fit the arrangements, she said: “We build up from small group drills to large group drills in a typical training session.

“With Covid-19 restrictions, we can stick only to small group drills. The difficulty comes in when we want to apply specific skills and concepts we practised to actual court situations”.

Oldham Hockey Club president Christabel Chan and her teammates have also had to change the way they train.

The club’s usual training venue, the Ministry of Education (MOE) Evans hockey pitch, remains closed, and so they now train at the ActiveSG Hockey Village in Boon Lay, which is a third the size of a regular hockey pitch.

The pitch at Delta Sport Centre is under renovation and it is difficult for Chan to book pitches at the Sengkang hockey facility as these are used by the national teams.

HAPPY TO PLAY

You don’t get to play the sport you love but there are other ways to bond with your team and play the sport on a smaller scale too.

CHRISTABEL CHAN, Oldham Hockey Club president, on having to adapt training to adhere to safe distancing rules.

KEEP ON GOING

We miss game time also but we must do our best to maximise training so that everyone continues improving their skills.

NORANI ZAINI, general manager of floorball club Black Wondersticks on making the best of their situation.

To abide by safe distancing guidelines, the pitch at Boon Lay is split into quadrants, with five players in each section.

“It’s a bit troublesome because if one ball crosses to other quadrants, we can’t cross over to take it,” said Chan, 27, who has been playing hockey for 18 years.

“But it’s understandable why these regulations are in place and we just have to be understanding during these times.

“You don’t get to play the sport you love but there are other ways to bond with your team and play the sport on a smaller scale too.”

The lack of available training venues is also a problem faced by floorball club Black Wondersticks, who used to train every Saturday at Dual-Use Scheme sports facilities in schools like Nan Chiau Primary School.

The scheme has been suspended by Sport Singapore and MOE since March 25 and the club’s men’s, women’s and junior teams now train at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).

Teams now train only twice a month with SUTD allowing only corporate bookings, which cost two times more than individual bookings of Dual-Use Scheme facilities, said Black Wondersticks general manager Norani Zaini.

The teams train in groups of five, with the groups spaced three metres apart and no intermingling allowed.

Drills are also more focused on improving technique and movement instead of game play.

Norani, who also owns the Youth Floorball Academy, said: “It’s a bit frustrating because of the safety measures and change of structure to training.

“We miss game time also but we must do our best to maximise training so that everyone continues improving their skills…

“We just have to keep motivating our players to maintain the dynamic of the team and have a good training regimen for them.”